Ukraine claims Russia is plotting ‘provocations’ at nuclear plant, gives no evidence

KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s military intelligence has claimed without providing evidence that Russia is plotting “massive provocations” at a nuclear power plant it occupies in the southeast of the country with the aim of disrupting a nuclear power plant. Ukraine’s impending counterattack.

A statement released by the intelligence directorate of Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense on Friday announced that Russian forces would attack the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, then report radiation leak to trigger an international investigation to halt hostilities and reach a conclusion. Russian forces had the respite they needed to regroup before the counterattack.

To do so, Russia has “interrupted the rotation of personnel of the permanent monitoring mission” of the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency that had been scheduled for Saturday, the statement said. . It does not provide evidence to back up any of the claims.

The IAEA said in an email to the AP that it did not immediately comment on the allegations and that Russian officials did not immediately comment on Ukraine’s claims.

This statement reflects similar statements Moscow has often made, alleging without evidence that Kiev is plotting provocations involving various weapons or dangerous substances to then accuse Russia of committing crimes. War Crimes.

It comes as Moscow’s troops in Ukraine are preparing for an impending counter-offensive by Kiev forces, which has not yet begun but could begin “tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, or in a week,” the Secretary of the National Council said. Ukraine National Security and Defense Department, Oleksiy Danilov, told the BBC in an interview on Saturday.

The Zaporizhzhia power plant is one of the 10 largest nuclear power plants in the world. It is located in the partially occupied Zaporizhzhia region in southeastern Ukraine. The plant’s six reactors have been shut down for months, but it still requires energy and qualified personnel to operate critical cooling systems and other safety features.

Nearby fighting repeatedly disrupted electricity supplies and raised fears of a potential disaster like the one at Chernobyl, northern Ukraine, where a reactor exploded in 1986 and spewed out radiation. deadly radiation, contaminating a large area in the world’s worst nuclear disaster.

In other developments:

Russia on Saturday reported multiple attacks on its territory, with downed drones in western regions and areas on the border with Ukraine under shelling.

Two drones hit an administrative building of an oil company in Russia’s western Pskov region, bordering Belarus, Latvia and Estonia, Pskov Governor Mikhail Vedernikov reported on Saturday. Vedernikov said the building was damaged by the explosion.

Local authorities said another drone crashed in the Tver region about 150 kilometers north of Moscow.

According to governor Vyacheslav Gladkov, Russia’s Belgorod region on the border with Ukraine on Saturday was hit by shelling. In the neighboring Kursk region, which also borders Ukraine, one person was killed by cross-border mortar fire, Governor Roman Starovoit said.

– The British military said on Saturday that Russia’s private military force, Wagner, was withdrawing from areas around the eastern city of Bakhmut, which Moscow claimed to have captured earlier this month.

The head of Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin, earlier this week announced his withdrawal, saying that Wagner would hand control of the ruined city to the Russian army. However, some were skeptical: Prigozhin was known for making mind-boggling, unverifiable claims that he later retracted.

But the UK Ministry of Defense said in a series of tweets on Saturday that Wagner fighters “likely have begun to withdraw from some of their positions” around Bakhmut. “The deputy defense minister of Ukraine also endorsed the rotation of Wagner forces on the outskirts of the town,” the ministry said.


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